Samsung To Offer Tizen OS Handsets in 2013

Will 2013 be the year of the open-source mobile OS? Not too long ago, U.S. smartphone users had a wealth of options, between WebOS, iOS, Android, Symbian, Bada -- you name it. Now, however, that list has shrunk considerably, but it may be ramping back up soon. Just a day after the Ubuntu OS was announced for mobile, Samsung has come forward to announce that it will sell Tizen-based phones later in 2013. Tizen is a little-known mobile OS that is actually backed by chip giant Intel. According to Samsung: "We plan to release new, competitive Tizen devices within this year and will keep expanding the lineup depending on market conditions."

Reportedly, Samsung is looking for ways to reduce its reliance on Android, which seems curious given how dominant it has become and how much Android has helped the Galaxy line rival the iPhone. Of course, Samsung was producing Windows Phone units at once point, but that charm has since faded after WP7 proved to be -- by most sales standards -- a nonstarter. Byun Han Joon, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities in Seoul, said the following: "The Tizen was born as Samsung hoped to lighten its growing dependence on Google on concerns that its top position in the smartphone market may weaken following the Google-Motorola tie-up."

In other words, Samsung fears that Google may one day restrict the newest and best builds of Android to Motorola phones, given that Google now owns Motorola Mobility. It's a paranoid, albeit understandable way to look at things, and having a Plan B surely isn't a bad business plan. Whether or not the masses will flock to Tizen, however, remains to be seen.